Thursday, December 9, 2021
Dec. 9, 2021

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Longview library hopes to bring bookmobile to city streets

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Longview — The Longview Public Library is in the early stages of bringing a bookmobile onto the city streets.

Becky Standal, youth services librarian, said there had been discussions for years about the possible benefits of a bookmobile, but the pandemic had dramatically shown the range of resources a mobile extension could offer. For the majority of 2020, the library’s services relied on digital material and curbside pickup as few patrons were allowed into the stacks.

“This showed itself as a way you can offer flexible library services to people outside of the library and reach people in the community that don’t necessarily come to the building,” Standal said.

Standal leads a steering committee made of library employees, members of the Longview Library Foundation, city council representatives and members of the public who will determine the features for the bookmobile. The committee held its first meeting in August and will talk regularly over the next few months.

A mobile library in Longview could be tasked with performing a wide range of duties.

The vehicle could offer normal library services on a route with regular stops throughout town. It also could represent the library in city parades and host reading events for children at local schools and daycare centers. Vehicles for other library branches became temporary Wi-Fi hotspots last year for communities with limited internet access.

“I grew up knowing bookmobiles existed, but haven’t seen one in a gazillion years. There is a need for one in a different way now, with modernizing the whole concept,” library foundation president Jane Ditewig said.

As the vehicle plan becomes finalized, the bookmobile will become the central fundraising goal for the Longview Library Foundation. The city government manages the library facilities, but a bookmobile would fall under the category of programs and features overseen by the foundation. Ditewig said the Art Speaks Volumes fundraiser likely will make a return in early 2022 to gather donations for the mobile library.

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